Monday, May 31, 2010

Apple Duathlon 2010 Results

It was a hot day. Less humid than last weekend, more sun and more heat. Sunny, beautiful day.
I got there early and got setup. Enjoyed some social time and warmed up. It was nice to have some conversation time with people both before and after the race.
It must have been a fast day, because a number of course records were set overall and in AG groups.
As planned, I went out slow. Kept a constant, fairly slow pace through the first mile and picked up speed. My goal was to go about 9min\mi, I went faster than that. I think I negative split the run. Very nice.
I got out of transition as fast as last year.
I biked hard, basically as hard as I could. There were points on the course that felt fantastic. There were times I was turning the hard gear and it felt smooth and nearly effortless. Then, I turned the corner and started during heading south, into that dreaded headwind. Not as bad as previous years, but still tough. Just pedal, stay in the aerobars, and keep the head in postion. That is exactly what I did. I PR'd the bike and had my fastest bike split in a duathlon. A two'fer on the PR.
I had problems with my second transistion, for the second weekend in a row. I got to the correct row, but someone put their bike in my spot and I ran passed not noticing my stuff. Luckily, the guy who came into transtion in front of me, quickly pointed out that I ran past my spot. Lucky for me someone else was observant. I slowed down, put my bike in the rack, and slowly put my shows on. I came out slow, and ran the hill out of transition slow. Once over the hill I picked up speed and the run felt pretty good. Again, I am pretty sure I ran a negative split on the run. It was not hard, considering how slow I ran the first mile.
It was hot, but for the most part felt good. I still feel awkward running. I am still trying to figure out my gait. I think it might take the entire year to get it, which is fine.
It is hard to compare last week's race to this week's race because the courses are so much different. The Apple course has a fairly flat run on pavement while the Gear West course is mostly grass and goes up and down a lot. The Gear West bike course is shorter and has more hills than the Apple course.
Below are my results for this year

R1 (3.1 mi) - 26:49 (8:38 min/mi)
T1 - 0:58
Bike (20.46 mi) - 57:42 (21.3 MPH)
T2 - 1:24
R2 (3.1 mi) - 29:10 (9:24 min/mi)
Total - 1:56:01
Overall - 117/238
AG - 16/31

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Week at TNT and Apple Duathlon This Saturday

I was really happy about my TNT (Tuesday Night Time Trial) results, until I read Steve's post about it (see Steve in a Speedo at He emailed the race director and apparently there was a timing "glitch" due to people not showing up at the start, and the results might be as much as 90 seconds off. I really wanted to believe I went as fast as I did. My initial results showed 23+MPH.
I went back to the results for the TT this morning and they were corrected, so my real results for the 11 mile TT are as follows:
Time = 29:21
Speed = 22.44MPH
Overall = 58/80
Actually, I am really happy with this result. It is over two minutes faster than two weeks ago. I would be willing to wager that some of the improvement is due to weather. Two weeks ago it was windy, in the low 50s/high 40s, and raining. This Tuesday it was in the low 90s/high 80s at the start and the wind was pretty mild. By the time the race was over, it was in the low 70s and some rain, with thunder and lightning, had started to fall. Luckily, I was done before the weather turned.
After the TT, I did a 25 minute run. I felt a little out-of-sorts during the run. Just felt awkward.
I suppose this is normal considering that I am still getting used to the whole bike to run thing.
I am not much of a wordsmith, so I really need to take some pictures of this TT course and post them so that someone who has not seen the course can get a better idea of what the course is like. It is by no means a flat course. When I do this TT I try to balance, so I don't blow my wad on the first half and have nothing left on the second. The killer hill at the beginning requires some patience, in my opinion. Anyway, the next one is in two weeks and I will see if I can drop some more time.

This weekend, Saturday, is the Apple Duathlon in Sartell, MN. It will be my 2nd time in 3 years doing this race. Last year I volunteered, again due to the stress fracture. I looked at the list of participants and it appears to be the smallest field in the 3 years I have been at the race. It is not a qualify race for Worlds, so that is probably the reason for the small field.
The run course (3.1 mi and is the same for both runs) starts out with short, steep climb, and the rest is relatively flat and on pavement. It is basically through a residential neighborhood.
The bike starts out going up the same hill you had to run at the start, goes mostly north, jogs east, and comes back south. In the past, the wind has been bad on the return ride south. The bike is 20ish miles and the return south is pretty much 10 miles flat.
Here are my results from previous years
R1 (3.1 mi) - 23:41 (7:38 min/mi)
T1 - 1:19
Bike (20.46 mi) - 1:02:07 (19.8 MPH)
T2 - 1:14
R2 (3.1 mi) - 25:35 (8:15 min/mi)
Total - 1:53:54
Overall - 135/255
AG - 14/23

R1 (3.1 mi) - 22:11 (7:09 min/mi)
T1 - 0:59
Bike (20.46 mi) - 1:00:22 (20.4 MPH)
T2 - 0:56
R2 - 24:14 (7:48 min/mi)
Total - 1:48:41
Overall - 100/261
AG - 10/26

2009 - DNS due to stress fracture, but volunteered

As was the case with the Gear West Du, my goal is to go out nice and easy on the first run. I would like to be closer to 9min/mi for the first run and under 9:30min/mi for the second run. I would like transitions under a minute. I am shooting for 21MPH or faster on the bike. I think how fast I go will definitely be a function of how much rest I am getting this week, which is not a lot.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gear West Duathlon 2010 - First Du of the Year

I will cut to the chase and post my results. Then I will discuss the day. Aside from the humidity, it was a great day.

Run 1 (3.1mi) - 27:57 (9:19min/mi)
T1 - 1:15
Bike (17 mi) - 48:41 (21MPH)
T2 - 1:42
Run 2 (2.5mi) - 25:42 (9:42min/mi)
Total = 1:45:19
Overall = 200/380
Age Group = 38/63

It was a humid day. A very humid day. Thankfully, it was cloudy and not sunny, otherwise it would have been worse. It was already a case where you would stand around and sweat. I got there as usual, early, and setup everything nice and tidy. Did a short bike ride to warm-up the legs and get nice and sweaty. While waiting to start, and chatting with people, are started to feel a little cramp in my gut and had to pee. I figured both feelings would go away when I started the race. The pee feeling did go away, the cramp did for awhile, but came back on the bike.

I stuck to my game plan on the run. I went out at a pace that was "comfortable", maybe careful is a better word, and watched the watch to make sure I was not going too fast. I felt pretty good after the run, considering the humidty and lack of run conditioning. I had slow transitions, really need to practice those. To the bike course! The bike felt pretty good. I discovered my issue while out on the bike, I was settling into a gear that was too comfortable, too easy. When I realized this, I made an effort to make myself uncomfortable and go faster. In my last post, I posted my previous results from the Gear West Du. Not only was this my fast bike split at the GW Du, but my fast bike split in a duathlon. I didn't meet the goal of a top ten bike split in my AG, but I will take a PR any day.

I got to use my brand new aero helmet, picked up the day before. The helmet is a Lazer Tardiz that I got at Gear West for the Test Team. I will eventually right a review of the helmet. My first impression is, awesome. I really like it.

Also, above is a picture of my right side "pad" on my aerobars. Ever since I removed the pads that came with the original aerobars, I have been having problems with the pads I put on. Mostly problems with the pad on the right side. The right one fell off a couple days before and I lost it. I was going to pick up new pads the day before the race, but forgot. So I put this one together by folding part of an old t-shirt up and then taping it to the cup. It worked ok. Provided some cushion for the forearm. It did stick while sweating, but not too bad. I plan on getting a real pad before T'N'T on Tuesday night.

I got to spend some time talking, not only before the race, but after to a lot of people I have not talked to in awhile. That might have been one of the best parts of the day. Socializing with people. My girlfriend Jackie was there and her sister and son (two and half years old) showed up to watch. First time for them at such an event. Jackie's two and half year old nephew saw Pro David Thompson come off the bike into transition, at incredible speed, and remarked "Do it again!". Cute kid. Apparently, when he got home he ran around the neighborhood saying "Race fast, like Chris!". If only he understood how fast I am not. I will take the compliment.
Jackie took some pictures of me running, I am not going to post the pictures because I don't really like the way I look running. Based on comments from Jackie and her sister, I still have work to do on my running form. I am still turning my left foot inward and dropping my arms. I thought I was concentrating on it, but apparently I need to concentrate harder.

Next up this weekend, Apple Duathlon. Apple has a long overall run and longer bike. The run is faster, flatter and on pavement. The bike is also flatter, but usually the wind is bad, especially on the way back in.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Duathlon of the Year (Gear West Duathlon) and First of Eleven (11) Race Weekends

This Sunday is the Gear West Duathlon, my first duathlon of the year and my first duathlon since the Dousman Duathlon in September of 2008. I did two duathlon relays last year, but this will be the first full duathlon since late 2008. This weekend is also the first of 11 straight weekends racings. First two weekends are duathlons and then 9 triathlons in a row.

The Gear West Du was my first duathlon I ever did, back in 2006. I was slow. The course is challenging with a 3.1 mi run, 17 mi bike, and 2.4 mi run. The run is on trail/grass through up and down terrain around the Orono Middle School. The bike is hilly, with a short, killer hill near the start. Below are my previous times
2006 - 2:01:08 (Overall 315/353, AG 43/44)
2007 - 1:44:29 (Overall 201/342, AG 39/45)
2008 - 1:38:24 (Overall 151/410, AG 26/44)
2009 - Volunteered and in a walking cast :(
2010 - ?

I have clearly made marked improvements over the years. This year will be challenging since I am recovering from the stress fracture and my run has a ways to go. My turnover is not there. I don't feel I can generate any speed yet.

I asked my coach, Kris Swarthout (of the new OptumHealth Performance), how I should approach the race on Sunday. He said take it out smart on the first run, go easier, hit the bike hard (top 10 in AG time), and give the last run whatever I got. He also would like to see top 20 overall T1 and T2 times.

On the first run I would like to keep a sub 9:30 min/mi pace (compared to my 2008 pace of 7:44 min/mi and my 2006 pace of 8:58 min/mi). I have never averaged over 20MPH in a duathlon (compared to averaging over 23MPH in T'N'T and averages over 22MPH in triathlons). To finish in the top 10 bike in my AG, based on last year, I will have to go over 21MPH. So, I am really going to hammer it. Hopefully, the new aerohelmet, new Sub-9 disc, and training will get me there this year. The last run, I would like to go sub 9 min/mi pace. It would be my first negative split in a duathlon. 2008 second run average was 8:54 min/mi and 2006 was 10:47 min/mi (ugh). If I go under a minute in T1, under a minute in T2, average 21MPH, and run as hoped, I might pull off a something faster than my 1:44 in 2007.

In the end, as usual, I can only do what I can do, because that is all I can do. It should be a beautiful day, and hopefully, a fun race.

Monday, May 17, 2010

100,000 Miles on the Car and it has to do with Triathlon (Partly) and a Little Review

My current car is a SAAB 92X Aero, also known as a SAABaru, because it is actually a Subaru WRX Sportwagon. Why is a Subaru WRX Sportwagon rebadged as SAAB? It has to do with the, previous, intimate relationship between SAAB, GMC, Fujitsu Heavy Industry, and Subaru. Needless to say GMC thought SAAB needed a low cost, all wheel drive car, and Subaru happened to have some excess capacity, so there you go.

So, in 2005 I needed a lower car payment and had to get rid of the two (2) cars I had. One used Honda Civic, I think a '97, and my dearly missed 2003 Mazda RX-8. I got a $6000 rebate on the SAAB and that saved my ass from going upside down too badly. I had not started doing duathlons or triatlons when I got the car, that would be about 9 months later. The car turned out to be nearly perfect. When I put the seats down I can fit my bike, or any bike, in without taking the wheels off the bike. The reason the car has so many miles is because I do so many weekend races, I have family in WI, and I have about a 30mi round trip to work. That all adds up to over 20,000 miles a year on the car. This weekend it just turned a 100,000 miles.

Aside from gas and oil changes the car has not required much else. At around 20,000 miles the dealer put new tires on the car for free. The tires were Bridgestone Potenzas and they wore very fast and uneven. I had the same tires on my RX-8 and they were gone by 18,000 miles. I rotated them on the SAAB every oil change, or two, and they still wore fast. At around, I think, 50,000 miles I put Kumho All Season tires on the car and those tires have been great, and they cost about half as much as the Bridgestones. Around 80,000 miles the air conditioning pulley gave out. I could still drive the car, and luckily it happened in the winter, so the AC was not needed. That cost about 200 bucks to fix and has been the only thing on the car to break. Last week, at around 99,500, I had all four pads and rotors replaced and the brake system flushed. The brake job was less than 800 bucks. In about 10,000 miles I am going to need to replace all the belts, plugs, and the water pump and this will probably run about a grand. After 100K every car needs the work done.

I guess this is something of a review of the car. It has all-wheel drive, is a 5 door hatchback with folding seats that can carry a ton of stuff, handles great, gets good mileage (about 25+ on highway and 20+ in the city), accelerates great, and starts every day. So, after all that, I gues the point is to say the SAABaru has been a really great car up to this point. It is going to need to go another 50-100K miles before I can get something new/different. The car will be paid off in about 15 months and then I will need time to save up money.
At some point I will have to post a picture of the car.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Time Trials (T'N'T) - First of the Year

First T'N'T of the year. It was about 44 degrees, drizzling, and the wind was varying up to around 10MPH from the NE. Course is basically out east and back west. For those unfamilar the course has been the same for the last 5 years, this is my 6th year doing it. Last year they basically switched the start and the turnaround. The starting point is now at the turnaround, the base of a steep and long hill. I will have to take a picture and post some time. The turnaround is the old start. The course is 11 miles total, out and back. I think it is challenging because it is not at all flat.
The Time Trial, or TT, is frequently referred to as the "Race of Truth". The truth is, Tuesday night sucked. I was slow, slowest I had been in years. I would like to blame the weather, but I can't. So I won't. It was a bad night, not sure why. Just was.
I was not tired cardio wise. Not really out of breath. My legs were not that tired feeling. I had felt worse than I did last night. I heard, that if you do a TT and DON'T feel like puking at the end, you did not go hard enough. I wasn't that pukey feeling. So I guess I didn't go hard enough. I have 7 more of these. I just shake this one off as the first of the year and continue.
Below I embarassingly post my results
Total Time = 31:32.23
Average Speed = 20.93 (For reference, my 2008 average of 7 T'N'T races is about 23MPH)
Rank = 30 out of 38

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Workout Totals for the Month of April and YTD

April consisted of one very slow 5K, still taking it easy, and St. Anthony's.
Below is this April and the last three Aprils for comparison. In April of 2007 I spent most of the month in Germany, hence the low totals.

If I add in my aquajogging (0.67hr) and PT and strength (0.9hr) for April I get at total for April 2010 of ~26hrs, this includes races. A little lower than previous years, but I still think I am getting the good workouts in. Most of the difference is run time, which is to be expected.
I hope to ramp up the running starting in May.

Totals since 2007 and averages per month

Year-to-date totals and since 2007 Totals